Saturday, December 30, 2006
We've had alot of fun so far on the way out stopping at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and also the Battleship Texas (WWII era) and San Jacinto Monument right on the outskirts of Houston. I even had the flu when we went to the Texas and San Jacinto, but it was all fun as long as I wasn't giving up my lunch.
We'll be heading back to Texas (God's country) in the morning and I hope I'll have more time to blog then. Peace out.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Beer BlessingFrom the Rituale Romanum (no 58):
Benedic, Domine, creaturam istam cerevisae, quam ex adipe frumenti producere dignatus es: ut sit remedium salutare humano generi: et praesta per invocationem nominis tui sancti, ut, quicumque ex ea biberint, sanitatem corporis, et animae tutelam percipiant. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen
Bless, O Lord, this creature beer, that Thou hast been pleased to bring forth from the sweetness of the grain: that it might be a salutary remedy for the human race: and grant by the invocation of Thy holy name, that, whosoever drinks of it may obtain health of body and a sure safeguard for the soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
"As I was unfamiliar with the Spanish convention of naming boys for theIt's a good read.
Savior, it startled me upon arriving in my new parish to read on the bulletin
board: 'If there is no usher at the 7:30 Mass, Jesus will take up the
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
The story is nothing but a put down of how "intolerant" we Christians are when we avoid anti-Christmas stores who want to take our money but not acknowledge the reasons for the season. Of course when a city councilman from Monroe, WI states that 90% of Americans are Christians the writer makes sure to let us know that its actually "roughly" 80%. Thanks, you're right Ms. Stange, that is way less than 90%. Ms. Stange, wanting to inform us, lets us see the big picture, that "The assumption at work here appears to be that, while we are a diverse society, Christmas is a national holiday that trumps all other seasonal celebrations." If I may offer my humble opinion madam, I thinkthe assumption at work here is actually that since this is a major holiday in which Christians are being advertised to, they feel like the holiday should be acknowledged.
Thank goodness gracious (and of course not God, because then we would have to thank everyone's) that the Ms. Mary Stange is nice enough to teach us that "Of course, if you are a Jew celebrating Hanukkah, or a Muslim marking Eid al-Fitr, or a neo-pagan Wiccan for whom the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21) is a major observance, you probably had appreciated the more inclusive acknowledgement that the end of the year is a festive time for you, too. " Ah that's right. I wish I remembered how many people Wiccans had on their list for gift giving this time of year! This is a major shopping holiday for them too right? And who can forget Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim Mardi Gras? I certainly cannot. I don't know how they get all that holiday season shopping done after fasting so long.
What if perhaps, just perhaps, those folks weren't doing all that much shopping for their respective holidays and instead us intolerant, irrespectfully full of ourselves Christians were. Sure there are eight crazy nights worth of presents to get for Hanukkah as Adam Sandler tells us, but who is that wild and crazy group paying Target's electricity bill come December time? Might it be Christians (church lady lip pursing action!). So is it too much to ask that our reason be acknowledged without being patronized by "holiday trees"? Honestly, outside of Christmas, who is decorating a pine tree? So I think the patronizing might not be all for us. Are there a bunch of angry people upset that the trees in their airports aren't being refered to as Kwanza trees? Come on Stange, not every one is as offended as you and your kooky out of touch friends. But the terror that is this article of Ms. Stange's did not end there, alas for all readers, you will be bombarded with useless data.
For those interested, evidentley "if you are Wiccan, the matter of being un-included this holiday season must especially sting." I'm so sad. "A group of Wiccan families is suing the Department of Veterans Affairs for the right to bury their fallen heroes in military cemeteries in graves marked with a pentacle, the five-pointed star that symbolizes their religion, much as a cross does Christianity or a Star of David, Judaism." Now, first of all, if Wikipedia serves me well "Because there is no centralised organisation in Wicca, and no single "orthodoxy", the beliefs and practices of Wiccans can vary substantially, both between individuals and between traditions. " Why then does every Wiccan want a pentacle? Every Christian wants a cross, okay got it, every Jew want a star of David, Islamic crescant and so on until...your head explodes because only about 1800 out of over a million people claim to even be Wiccan in the military. Even then how many of these people are really going to be buried in a government cemetary? I have no problem with giving it too them, but was that sob story supposed to make me think "Wow, they are being screwed, this Christmas lets just call it a holiday tree because the Wiccans aren't getting their head stones at Arlington." Come on Mary Stange, this has nothing to do with the "sting" of not having a winter solstice banner hanging in Macy's. By the way, I see from Wikipedia that only about 134,000 people in the US claim to be Wiccan. Isn't that about the same number of people from Australia that a few years ago claimed to be members of the "Jedi" religion? Do you see what I mean folks?
Now for the Shock-and-Awe moment of the story where Ms. Stange reveals the super-dee-dooper secret origins of Christmas that surely no Christian has every heard as she writes "there is a deep, and seasonal, irony here — one that might come as a shock to the "Save Merry Christmas" crowd." Or it might just be a shockingly awful spin of the story of the origin of Christmas. You see according to Ms. Stange "Christmas is, in its origins and its symbolism, perhaps the most pagan-inspired of all Christian holidays." Yes, I see. When Christians first saw the pagans (wiccans of course) giving presents and singing "O' Silent Night" they wept with joy at the inspiration they recieved. They said "Oh Partinicus, I am so inspired. We should take over this holiday and suppress Wiccans everywhere for Jesus." "I think you are right Linicius, I too am inspired for this cause." Or, maybe during the conversion of the pagans (who were probably NOT Wiccan as it didn't exist before the 1920s) the Christian missionaries who were instructed to attempt to allow as much of the indigienous culture to remain as possible, might have taken the pagan holidays and "baptized" them. The missionaries knew that though you can change religious beliefs, you can't change the entire culture of the people. The people will still want to celebrate things that are traditional to them. So, if they still want to celebrate around the time of the old winter solstice and want something to celebrate show them a party concerning their new found beliefs. Now they have a reason for joy, the birth of Joy itself! Could it be that in this fashion it became popular to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ on the 25th of December?
While we're on the subject of Christians-are-really-just-pagan-copiers why not take a look at what Ms. Mary has to offer next. "Most of the popular symbols surrounding Christmas — evergreen trees and other greenery, mistletoe and holly, the Yule log, candles and bonfires and holiday lights, mystical spirits with the ability to fly and to enter and leave a house through its chimney, tricksters who treat or taunt little children, not to mention those elves — all derive from older, pre-Christian Europe."
So sure Christians think that evergreens symbolize the everlasting reign of Christ and blah blah blah, but Wiccans know that they are wrong. I think Ms. Mary may have forgotten that just because something may have its origins as one thing it can still transform into another. For instance, at Easter, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. At the same time, Jews celebrate the Passover. What was once Jewish is now Christian, but with a different twist. This example is a little different as Christians didn't just add to the pagan holiday but changed it. Sure we kept the evergreen, but we changed its meaning. For us, the winter solstice even has meaning, and we're not Wiccan. It can symbolize that even if evil may seem to triumph (the shortest day of light for the year) God and his goodness will succeed (the brightening days to come). As far as the spirits coming down the chimney, I'd like to remind Ms. Stange that similarity does not imply descent. If the story of a Bishop in Myra turns into a story about a man who gives yearly gifts on Christmas and the way he gets into the house is through the chimney, it cannot be implied that because pagans believed that spirits came through a chimney it is the pagan descendant. That's like saying that because some ancient Middle Eastern religions used arches made of gold in their worship then McDonalds must be an ancient cultic temple.
The last paragraph of the article is indeed a work of art (it'll take me another beer just to suffer through it again). "In fact, nothing could be more in keeping with the "Christmas spirit" than to embrace and celebrate religious diversity. And nothing could be truer to the spirit of the First Amendment than to honor American war dead as they and their loved ones would wish. No single group of self-proclaimed Christians holds a premium on the meaning of this magical season. And no government agency should decide what "qualifies" as an appropriate religious symbol." Because nothing says "I am the way, the truth, and the life," like religious diversity at Christmas. And while we're on the subject of Christmas, just go ahead make a statement about the first amendment, its all the same to a Wiccan. Finally, no one could say it finer that Ms. Mary Stange: Christmas time doesn't belong to Christians. I guess you called this one right Ms. Mary, Christ came for all of us, let's celebrate.
What also caught my eye was a short paragraph that said:
"the governor said he wants to ensure the process does constitute cruel and
unusual punishment, as some death penalty foes argued bitterly after Wednesday's
Pretty sure Jeb isn't looking to make sure Florida's executions are cruel and unusual. Just a thought.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
And after finals, the best thing I could hear all day came from today's first reading from Isaiah:
"Do you not know or have you not heard?The
LORD is the eternal God,creator of the ends of the earth.He does not faint nor
grow weary,and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.He gives strength to the
fainting;for the weak he makes vigor abound.Though young men faint and grow
weary,and youths stagger and fall,They that hope in the LORD will renew their
strength,they will soar as with eagles’ wings;They will run and not grow
weary,walk and not grow faint."
Thanks be to God.
Also is the speech was B16 reminding us what the media tends to forget, human dignity and rights are also violated in more ways than one: “alongside the victims of armed conflicts, terrorism and the different forms of violence, there are the silent deaths caused by hunger, abortion, experimentation on human embryos and euthanasia. How can we fail to see in all this an attack on peace?”
The Pope continued his message that religion is not a place for violence:"Today, however, peace is not only threatened by the conflict between reductive visions of man, in other words, between ideologies. It is also threatened by indifference as to what constitutes man’s true nature."
Finally is regards to the removal of the Christmas trees from the Seattle airport (just kidding, but its along those lines): “There are regimes that impose a single religion upon everyone, while secular regimes often lead not so much to violent persecution as to systematic cultural denigration of religious beliefs.”
Enjoy the speach.
The EU is so backward right now that they'll do one of two things with this 1) They'll say "its okay, we accept you for who you are. Your culture and religious prefernces are fine with us, even if it comes to sacrificing camels. Heck the camel probably deserved it anyway so give it a try on one of our runways." or 2) "Whoa, you guys really are from a different culture. Maybe we should wait a bit. You know, you guys could really help to bring some stability to the middle east..."
My bet is they'll probably choose option #1 so that no one thinks they're being "intolerant" of Turkish culture. I don't think sacrificing camels is the norm in Turkey by the way. I think B16 was probably right though in regards to Turkey's status with the E.U. I'm not sure they go together like peas and carrots.
Last thought on this: were the airplanes really that bad that the airline workers felt it was worth sacrificing camels on the runway?
Monday, December 11, 2006
I'm sooooo sad that Kofi has to step down, especially after such a riveting farewell speech. It was so fresh and original to hear "Human rights and the rule of law are vital to global security and prosperity." Wow, what insight. I also listened in amazement when he said the U.S. "appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused." The raw intellectual power of this man, how will he ever be replaced?
But certainly Mr. Annan wasn't just preaching to his lib Euro-buddies was he? You don't mean to say he was....no....just putting one country down to raise himself?
Alas, I think our friend Kofi is nothing more than another man trying to give himself a final shot of glory. And again it comes at our expense. Have we abandoned our "own ideals and objectives" or are our ideals just very different from someone who developed UNICEF into a tool for "population control." Maybe when Kofi says that our "friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused," he means his friends. You know who I'm talking about Mr. Chirac, Mr. Schroeder, and I guess anyone else who doesn't like America. I seem to recall our friends like you know, Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom not disagreeing with us a whole bunch. You know, the other 22 countries that went with us into Iraq. Sure, not everyone has agreed that we should have gone into Iraq, but the fact of the matter is as Mr. Annan said in his speech that as the world's superpower we "must accept the special responsibility that comes with their privilege." So we have.
My little Kofi, if you could see past the spotlight that's been in your eyes these last few years you could see that there were really only a few people clapping. That clapping you hear drowns out the crying from the families in Africa where your dear UNICEF has told them to use condoms and abortion to keep themselves from overpopulating and hence starving themselves. If you'd have opened your ears to that instead of the cheers you've sought by insulting the US, you might have even heard the victory cheers in Uganda for winning battles in the fight against AIDS by using abstinence education.
But you have been busy Kofi. You and Kojo have been hard at work. It must have been rough going making sure all the money went to the right places and "right" places when the Oil-for-Food program was running. And as I've mentioned UNICEF before, I may as well mention it again, it takes alot of time to put the right people in charge. You know what I mean, the "Co-ordinating Committee on Health -- aligned UNICEF with UNFPA's major partner agency, International Planned Parenthood, which ranks second only to the the Chinese government in the volume of abortions it provides." Second to only the Chinese government, well Kofi, what are you doing falling behind? You better set the tone my friend.
Why stop there? Kofi, can I call you Kof for short? Kof, you hit the nail on the head when you said "The Security Council is not just another stage on which to act out national interests." I mean you are so right. When Iran threatens everyone who wants to stop them from making "the bomb" by taking action at the security council, they are totally just using the council as a stage. Oh, my fault, you were just putting us down again. I see, Iran has every right to put on a show at the Security Council (I hear Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a great Gene Kelly in their new Singing in the Jihadist Rain), but should we use UN channels such as the Security Council to try to stop them from using a WMD against a country they want to be "wiped off the map," we're trying to hijack the council for national interests. I understand.
I know I'm not perfect. I tend to criticize alot, just ask my wife, she hates it (or look at my Nativity story post). I do get a little perterbed, however, when people like Kofi Annan continue to criticize America day after day while his own deeds go sight unseen. UNICEF is killing babies but the headline on YAHOO!NEWS is: "Annan criticizes U.S. in farewell speech." You know somewhere Beelzebub is loving it.
On the flip side, now that Kofi is out, have some fun looking at these pictures capturing the touching moments of his time in office (just kidding, its a Kofi Annan photoshop contest).
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Also, pray for the kid to get some sense. There have been other stories about kids like this who sound like the type that think they don't fit in and they want to be a part of something. They remind me of the Columbine types. If I recall there was a reservist they caught trying to give info to terrorists on deployment dates and unit strengths but he wasn't very smart about hiding it. Pray for these kids.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I remember some years back when they re-discovered St. Peter's burial place. Not that it was really ever "lost" I suppose. This has got to be exciting for Steve Ray.
Monday, December 04, 2006
|Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas|
For you, it's all about sharing times with family.
Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.
Joking aside, this is kind of cool, but I wonder how much money was spent developing this. A RoboSalmon? What kind of information are they hoping this thing can gain for them that they can't already get? I can't see any use for this robot that you couldn't already get from current submersibles. I suppose that's why I'm not getting paid the big bucks though.
This reminds me of a Seinfeld stand-up act where he say "Let's see I just graduated with my doctorate, what kind of research should I do? Hmmm. Should I help to fight cancer? No. Should I work on helping develop new drugs? No. I know, I want to create a watermelon without seeds. Yes, I will use my knowledge to create seedless watermelons!"
Anyway, I guess I'm cranky from being up late. I know I shouldn't be this critical. If I could half the things these guys can with some electronics I'd be a happy engineer.
See the video below.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
I guess 'ole Putin thought Britain should take a page out of Russia's playbook. Too bad he forgot that the Brits have freedom of speech. Get that story HERE.
This is one of the coolest things I saw all day.
If the kid is wearing hair that looks like it could represent a gang, kick him in the butt and get his hair cut. I don't know if my link will work, if not, its the video of the school forcing a kid in NM to cut his hair on the right hand side of the page HERE.
That's my stuff for the day.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Sorry to have to post the url and not just link it but blogger is still a little kooky.
Okay. What in the world is going on. Half the world know His Holiness B16 is pushing logical interfaith dialogue. He asks for basic human rights and freedoms to be given to people of all faiths not just christians, and the response he gets from the post is:
"The more one tries to defend the Pope’s remarks as being made “inadvertently,” the more the transparency of their real intention becomes obvious: To close the door on the dialogue between Muslims and Catholics permanently."
Oh yes, that's right. If he wanted to close the door on interreligious dialogue with muslims he should go to a predominently muslim country and insult them. Yes, this sounds like a wonderfully reasonable thing to do. OOOOOOr, maybe the Wall Street Journal has a nack for actually listening to what the Pope says and not watching Al-Jazeera for their editorials like the Post:
"Benedict XVI's evident intention is to engage the Islamic world, particularly its religious and political leaders, in an intense and long discussion of the religious, political and legal rights of their resident minorities, in other words, the Western tradition. The implications of this effort are obvious for achieving an acceptable modus vivendi with global Islam."
Oh so he does want to use interreligious dialogue so two faiths can come to an understanding. Hmmm. Interesting. So how can two different papers come up with stories on two different ends of the spectrum? The "Frances Myers Ball Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virgina" says things like "No amount of apology can undo the harm the irresponsible comments about Islam and its founder have done to the prospects of dialogue between these two Abrahamic traditions," and "The Pope had no such noble intention to change the minds and hearts of Muslim militants." The WSJ's writer Daniel Henninger says "Benedict XVI's evident intention is to engage the Islamic world, particularly its religious and political leaders, in an intense and long discussion of the religious, political and legal rights of their resident minorities, in other words, the Western tradition."
If the Post can't get someone who is actually paying attention, they should just not cover it at all. Of course they do have their readership who were probably already saying this stuff before it ever got printed and now its just the "proof in the pudding." Anyway, for better analysis of this, I'd bet that the Curt Jester, Jimmy Akin or Mark Shea will have something up about this. Check them out.
This one is the first in a series so keep watching and see the great men and women we have to be proud of and thankful for.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Here's a "montage" of the final drive that put the Aggies in the lead against t.u. Stephen McGee, you are the man.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
"sketch a simple cartoon in postmodern Denmark of legendary easy tolerance, and
then go into hiding to save yourself from the gruesome fate of a Van Gogh."
Just as the Europeans are stunned that their heaven on earth has left them weak
and afraid, so too millions of Americans on the Left are angry that their own
promised moral utopia is not so welcomed by the supposedly less educated and
bright among them. But still, what drives Westerners, here and in Europe, to
demand that we must be perfect rather than merely good, and to lament that if we
are not perfect we are then abjectly bad--and always to be so unable to define
and then defend their civilization against its most elemental enemies?
We especially ignore among us those who work each day to keep nature and the
darker angels of our own nature at bay. This new obtuseness revolves around a
certain mocking by elites of why we have what we have. Instead of appreciating
that millions get up at 5 a.m., work at rote jobs, and live proverbial lives of
quiet desperation, we tend to laugh at the schlock of Wal-Mart, not admire its
amazing ability to bring the veneer of real material prosperity to the poor.
We can praise the architect for our necessary bridge, but demonize the
franchise that sold fast and safe food to the harried workers who built it. We
hear about a necessary hearing aid, but despise the art of the glossy
advertisement that gives the information to purchase it. And we think the
soldier funny in his desert camouflage and Kevlar, a loser who drew poorly in
the American lottery and so ended up in Iraq--our most privileged never
acknowledging that such men with guns are the only bulwark between us and the
present day forces of the Dark Ages with their Kalashnikovs and suicide belts.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I've honestly never even thought about this. I guess I've heard about the blind being able to distinguish between coins by size and feel of the edges such as a quarter having ridges around its edge and a nickel being smooth. I suppose it goes to show just one more thing I take for granted everyday.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Also, the picture is Amy and I looking very colonial at the history museum in St. Louis.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
"While out-of-wedlock births have long been associated with teen mothers,So, is the problem that the maturity level is dropping, or is it that values are going in the trash can? The teen birth rates actually dropped, seemly saying that we're getting through to them. Is it still the generations where teen pregnancies rose that is still producing these pregnancies out of wedlock only now they're older?
the teen birth rate actually dropped last year to the
lowest level on record. Instead, births among unwed mothers rose
most dramatically among women in their 20s."
But the bright side, well the article seems to think its that
" just because a mother is not married does not mean the father isn't
around, Ventura noted. She noted 2002 statistics that showed that about 20
percent of all new mothers under 20 were unmarried but living with the father at
the time of the birth. That same was true of about 13 percent of all new mothers
ages 20 to 24."
Oh well as long as they're living together I guess that takes care of that. No more pesky problems right? I have family members who have had children out of wedlock and they aren't religious. They are nice people and I love them, but I sincerely sympathize that they don't know what they're missing by bringing that grace of marriage into a relationship, and creating a family within that. I suppose we should just offer this up to the Holy Family in prayer, that the sanctity of marriage might be realized.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Also, the same group of Jesuits has a site called Pray-as-you-Go. This website has daily meditaional prayer that center on the daily gospel reading, but these are downloadable mp3's so you can "pray as you go." I think they're pretty neat. They also have a "final review of the day" mp3 as well, but I keep forgetting to listen to that one. Whoops. Even if you don't have an mp3 player you can listen to these tracks via windows media player or via whatever your default audio player is. I hope you like them.
I've also linked their mission statement here (the jesuits that is) so you can find out more about them.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I want to mention that I do respect the thoughts from the USCCB, but I wish they would either make suggestions toward a reasonable solution, or not make statements that sound like whining. All in all, I think Fitzpatrick really sums it up, and I have to say, if I was a more eloquent writer, that's what I would have wanted to say.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
My greatest fear now is that the dems will try to pull us out of Iraq. Being a former soldier, I have alot of friends who were sent over there, and every one that came back said the same thing "It wasn't fun, but it wasn't near what they show on the news." Yes, people die every day, but they do in the US too. Basically they tell me this, good things are happening, people here don't understand what's going on because they're being told that nothing good is happening. We need to stay the course. Another thing is we need to be visible there until the job is finished, not hiding in a base outside of where the job needs to be done, but where the job needs to be done. The reason is because even though a base outside of the cities may make it easier to stop attacks on troops when they're in garrison, its much like having the cavalry in the fort while the indians attack the town. Why? The terrorists are attacking civilians, when they don't see anyone around, they can do what they want when they want. When they see troops around, its more intimidating and gives second thought. Of course attacks will still happen, but it changes the terrorists ability to execute their plans and gives the civilians a better sense of security for sure.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
"Each man is subject at every moment to several different sets of law but there
is only one that he is free to disobey. As a body, he is subjected to
gravitation and cannot disobey it; if you leave him unsupported in mid-air, he
has no more choice about falling than a stone has. As an organism, he is
subjected to various biological laws which he cannot disobey any more than an
animal can. That is, he cannot disobey those laws which he shares with other
things; but the law which is peculiar to his human nature, the law does not
share with animals or vegetables or inorganic things, is the only one he can
disobey if he so chooses."
Monday, November 06, 2006
"Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting
up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when
they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice."
Friday, November 03, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
- Embryonic Stem cell research is parts farming and is killing a human being. (Honestly that's what it is. Anyone who has seen the movie "The Island" knows what I'm talking about).
- Killing others to make us more comfortable is wrong.
- It hasn't worked, other research (ex.- adult stem cells) has worked. Spend the money where it has the most benefit.
The premise that I have seen argued against most often seems to be #2, only it is usually presented as "I don't want to deal with such and such a disease, this research helps to stop the suffering, therefore it is necessary." The argument is based on the premises that:
- Suffering should be stopped
- Embryonic stem cell research could cure many forms of suffering
- Therefore, we should have embryonic stem cell research
First of all, the first premise assumes that all suffering is bad. To argue this point, the supporter says for example "We know that it gets hot in Texas. We have decided to take action against the heat by creating air conditioning and cooling the hot Texas air. Living in the heat is suffering, it was good to change the situation, therefore overcoming suffering is good. Embryonic stem cell research could possibly stop suffering therefore, based on our earlier logic we can conclude that it is good."
This is not the case however because we can also say that "Exercise causes pain. Pain is suffering, but exercise makes us better physically, therefore suffering is good." Of course suffering comes in different degrees and alzheimers disease is a greater type of suffering than exercise but, perhaps the gain from the greater suffering of alzheimers is more important than that of exercise, except it is in a way not as obvious, such as in a spiritual fashion. One could even argue that suffering from the Texas heat is good because it reminds us that there is a heavenly place (even as close to heaven as aggieland is!) to look forward to where the a/c is always on! We can see that suffering can be both good and bad. There must be then a decision necessary to decide what is good suffering and what is bad suffering, but most importantly we have shown that the first premise is not always correct and so we have cast doubt on the pro-embryonic stem cell argument.
The second premise, that embryonic stem cell research could cure many forms of suffering, cannot be denied. However, neither can you say that leaches could not possibly cure a head ache, as unlikely as it is. My point is this, the possibility is there but the chances are somewhat slim compared to other potential treatments. We have plenty of evidence other stem cell types work, adult stem cells, and stem cells from umbilical cords to name two. Even liberal sources like PBS couldn't deny this. This article "Conflicting Research" is titled in such a way as to give the impression that non-embryonic stem cell research won't work, but as you read the article you realize that the data collected from experimentation using adult stem cells is vastly superior to anything gained from embryonic stem cell research. I use tylenol on my head aches, not leaches.
The conclusion then, that we should have embryonic stem cell research is not conclusive and it is rather doubtful at this point that embryonic stem cell research can do anything that other moral forms of treatment can't do better, cheaper and faster.
I think the biggest problem with all these ESCR arguments is that they tend to assume the lifelessness of an embryo, or that taking the life of an embryo is okay given the empathy the arguer assumes we should have for the suffering of another. If we don't support killing embryos for their possible cure, then we are called heartless by the media.
This really touches the same source of error as the abortion baby-killers. Life for us should be comfortable, so take whatever measures necessary to secure our comfort. I think if you took a poll (I haven't looked for any) looking at the percentage of the population that supports abortion and that percentage which supports ESCR you would find them to be roughly the same, heck it would be the same exact group of people. You can see this group when you look at Blue America (which incidently is why we need to get out the Republican pro-life vote this November). The assumptions come because we've lost sight of God in our country. To quote Dostoyevski like yesterday “If God does not exist, then everything is permitted.” This is never "permissable" in an argument concerning politics of course because the "separation of church and state" is invoked. If we leave our beliefs at the door however, where will we get?
Back to the stem cell argument, I've seen new attempts to make it look better like in THIS article. The article claims that they can now get stems cells from embryos without killing the embryos. What they try to pass off a little slyly is that:
"The first new method still subjects a human embryo to a small risk, and the
second involves deliberately creating an embryo with a disabled version of a
gene that is crucial to normal development, reported the Washington Post."
I hope everyone will see through this little effort at pushing on with ESCR.
Well, that's my two cents worth on the subject. I think I got a little roamy there for a while so please correct me if I got my arguments confusing.
Monday, October 30, 2006
"Talking nonsense is man's only privilege that distinguishes him
from all other organisms."
Thursday, October 26, 2006
The gospel reading is Matt 19:16-26
" And behold, one came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I
do, to have eternal life?"  And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about
what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the
commandments."  He said to him, "Which?" And Jesus said, "You shall not
kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear
false witness,  Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your
neighbor as yourself."  The young man said to him, "All these I have
observed; what do I still lack?"  Jesus said to him, "If you would be
perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have
treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."  When the young man heard this he
went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. 
And Jesus said to
his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the
kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through
the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  When
the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be
saved?"  But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is
impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Notice that the rich man asks "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" and Jesus replies (please ignore the Yoda sounding translation) "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." Jesus tells him to keep the commandments hmmm... Next the young man tells him that "All these I have observed..."
Now what has Jesus required of this man for eternal life? Keep the commandments. Next the young man says "what do I still lack?" and Jesus replies "If you would be perfect (emphasis mine), go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
Let's summarize this so far:
1) Jesus in this situation requires the keeping of the commandments for eternal life
2) The young man has done it, not worried about that anymore, so he wants to know what else he can do
3) Jesus says that to be perfect he should sell all he has
They key to enterpretting why this makes him perfect comes next- "When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful (again emphasis mine); for he had great possessions."
The key is that he couldn't give up what he had in order to reach perfection because of his attachment to it. Jesus asks for him to sacrifice his possesions because He knows how high he places them, above God.
With this in light consider the following: Is money the root of all evil, or is human imperfection (in this case the disordered attachment to material things) the root of all evil? We must conclude that it is our own disordered attachments. Material things, money included, are not inherently evil. They are things given by God for our use and enjoyment. They were given to us and we "have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth (Gen 1:26)."
There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel.We are disordered but God reached out in human form, Jesus, to give us his unbounded grace so that we might overome our disordered attachments through Him. Jesus, because of the stain of original sin says "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." And we like the apostles ask "Who then can be saved?" Thank God that "Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Money certainly does not give meaning to our lives, but it is only a material thing and so neither does it remove meaning from our lives. I am not good with money, and I am too attached to material things. But this means that I have to look for the Light of the World in my darkness to save me.
"With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Its hard to believe everything that's happening in Korea right now. I spent a year there from March of 2002 until March of 2003 and I thought it was a beautiful place with wonderful people. Just looking at the picture here you can tell that the South Korea is ahead of the North in technology, I think if you could take a picture of the spirit of the country it would look a little like this too.
The people of South Korea take great pride in their country, and I can't imagine how they feel knowing that their brothers in the north just keep threatening them and pushing away all possible help.
We used to talk alot about the stability of Kim Jong Il's regime and how long we thought it would stay in power. Alot of years have been estimated, some have past and some haven't, and it seems that Kim Jong Il knows he's teetering and is just trying to stay afloat. He's always stayed one wave ahead of the one to turn him over. He's always made the moves to just scrape by and keep power, and that says something. He's only worried about staying in power.
The problem I see is that he finally got nukes. I think we could have blown away his facilities and he would have only threatened retaliation but he wouldn't have done anything as long as he stayed in power. Its always been about him staying in power. Now...well, he knows we have a bulls eye on him and that if we come after him he has a bigger stick to wave around than before. Will we do anything? I think President Bush knows we have to, and steps have already been taken to apply economic pressure on him. I think sanctions may pull him in some. All the aid that has been sent to the people of North Korea was always taken away by the government and directed at the military (the world's largest standing army by the way). Now, they have nothing to feed their army and they'll have to make a concession. I've heard people say that the North would attack then and it would be the most casualty producing war ever. However, the fact of the matter is, its about stability. Tell Kimmy he can stay in power, but the UN (I'd rather say us but we have to let him save some face) must have DIRECT supervision of ALL military facilities as well as people THERE, ON THE GROUND at those facilities.
I don't see Kim Jong Il ever using the stick he picked up, I think he'll just keep waving it. He knows if he swings it he'll join the dead dictators society and that's the last thing he wants. For us, even though regime change is what we want, we have to know it will come in time. With direct oversight, even by the corrupt UN, we can send the food to the people and take the Bomb from his arsenal. I think that needs to be the ultimate goal, but by absolutely, possitively no means can we allow things to stay where they are. We can link NK to Libya and Iran in missile technology, who knows if they're also helping with Irans nuke program. Dr. Khan might not be Irans only helper. And if Iran has nukes then so does every Israel hating and western hating terrorist group out there. That is unacceptable.
Now if only it was as easy to do it as to say it...